BUFFON, Georges-Louis, comte de

Histoire naturelle générale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roi

Paris, Imprimerie Royale [&] Hôtel de Thou
1749-1789 [&] 1788-1804
Reference : CPV-OP

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Forty-six large volumes in-4 (volume 5 of Les Poissons bound in 2 volumes). Bound in red morocco, gilt border on the boards, spines with false nerves, with titles and tomaison in gilt, inner gilt border, gilt edges (the 46th volume in pastiche binding). The last volume concerning cetaceans has not been bound in this same series, as well as the 6 plates and 2 maps of Supplement V. We enclose them with the copy. Some foxing and minor defects, some pagination and numbering errors in the plates, some browned leaves and plates throughout. Nevertheless a fine copy with large margins in an elegant contemporary red morocco binding.

From the Library of Mr de Podenas with his armorial bookplate

First edition of this masterpiece of natural sciences of the 18th century, whose plates or figures are mainly due to Jacques de SEVE father and son.

The volumes are illustrated with two portraits of Buffon, 1262 plates and 16 maps and tables. The plates are almost all the work of the painter and draughtsman Jacques de Sève, or of his son Jacques Eustache de Sève, with the exception of the plate of the horse drawn by Oudry.

Our copy includes all the plates of the Poissons AVANT LA LETTRE series: they are neither numbered nor paginated nor captioned. Only the names of the draughtsman and sculptor sometimes appear.

French naturalist and writer Georges Louis Leclerc, Count de Buffon (1707-1788), is the author of a monumental Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, published in 36 in-4 volumes between 1749 and 1788, to which Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton (1716-1800), Philibert Guéneau de Montbeliard (1720-1785) and Abbé Gabriel Bexon (1748-1784) contributed. Divided into seven parts, it includes : Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi 1749-1767 (15 vols.), Histoire naturelle des oiseaux 1770-1783 (9 vols.), Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière Supplément (Théorie de la Terre, minéraux, animaux quadrupèdes) 1774-1789 (7 vols.), Histoire naturelle des minéraux. 1783-1788 (5 vols. or 6 depending on whether the maps are bound in an atlas volume or not), Histoire naturelle des quadrupèdes ovipares et des serpens 1788-1789 (2 vols.), Histoire naturelle des poissons 1798-1803 (5 vols.) and Histoire naturelle des cétacées 1804 (1 vol.).

Only the first four parts were written by Buffon. The last three, published after his death, were written by Bernard Germain Étienne de La Ville, comte de Lacepède (1756-1825). 

Buffon's Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roy was a huge success, almost as important as Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie, which appeared simultaneously. It is nowadays considered one of the most successful achievements of the Enlightenment project.

PMM 198.

BUFFON, Georges-Louis, comte de

Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-1788) is a French naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist, philosopher and writer known for his major work, Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roy, in 36 volumes published from 1749 to 1789.